The popularity of both artisinal breweries and proper mixology bars continues to rise, and at the convergence of these two beverage trends you will find the resurgence of the beer cocktail.
Cheap and easy to make, these light cocktails are a hit any time of year. The idea of a beer cocktail might strike you as odd in the beginning, but after tasting these fruity, fun beverages you will be asking for more – and maybe even dreaming up your own recipes in the process!
Shandy – This refreshing drink is one of the original and easiest beer cocktails, and is a popular item on drink menus in the UK, Europe and Australia. Mix equal parts lemonade and light lager, and voila. Remember that in most parts of the world, lemonade is carbonated – so add a squirt of soda water if you are using the non-fizzy, American kind.
Variations: Add a touch of grenadine and you’ll have a Monaco, a French version of the shandy. Mix your lager with ginger ale instead of lemonade, and you will have a Shandygaff. Choose hard apple cider instead of lemonade, and you’ve got a Snakebite on your hands.
Michelada – A traditional hangover remedy, the Michelada is part beer, part Bloody Mary and works equally well as a morning pick-me-up or an early evening party-starter. Run a slice of lime around the rim of a chilled glass, and then dip it in salt. Fill with ice, the juice of one lime (or lemon), 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1-2 dashes of Tabasco and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon, then fill the glass with Mexican beer such as Corona or Sol. You can leave the ice out altogether if you want a stronger drink, or for a real kick-in-the-teeth, some hard-core recipes also add a shot of tequila at the same time as the ice.
Black Velvet – Fans of wine spritzers might want to try this cocktail, a creamy combination that shouldn’t work – but does. Fill a flute with one part chilled stout (such as Guinness), then float one part champagne or sparkling white wine on top (pouring the wine slowly over the back of a spoon into the glass). This dark drink was created in London in 1861 for Prince Albert’s funeral.
Black & Tan – This classic beer cocktail also uses the over-the-spoon pouring technique to create a layered look in the glass. Traditionally this drink is made with Bass Pale Ale and Guinness Stout; however you can just choose your favorite brews (and if you don’t like stouts – try a porter). Fill a chilled beer glass halfway full with the ale, then pour the darker beer slowly on top via the spoon. Try to finish it before the two colors combine.
Lunch Box – Also called the Cincinnati Lunch Box, this fruity cocktail is reminiscent of the Monaco. Start with a frothy Hefeweizen and fill a chilled beer glass ¾ of the way up. Top it off with freshly squeezed orange juice, then add a shot of amaretto liqueur (such as Disaronno). Garnish with an orange wheel and cherry.
Irish Car Bomb – Every college kid in America knows this drink, which when done right, tastes just like a milkshake – but goes down even faster. Fill a beer glass halfway to the top with Guinness. Fill a shot glass with one part Irish whiskey and one part Baileys Irish Cream. Now gently drop the shot glass into the beer – and down it. Prepare to get bombed.
Brass Monkey – This one’s just for fun, and was inspired by the Beastie Boy’s hit song “Brass Monkey.” After you drink off the top portion of your 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor (such as Old English), add orange juice to fill it back up. Now you’ve got a Brass Monkey, and you are ready to fight for your right to party.